Have you ever felt like squeezing in your work out or getting up the energy and motivation to go to the gym is the last you want to do? Sometimes we really are truly busy and finding even a few spare moments to catch up on getting your body in tip top shape can be quite challenging. Here is a reality check for you- you can always fit a workout in somewhere, no matter how hard it may seem to find time. A few squats here and a few planks there all add up. Being busy is one excuse, but what if you just have no motivation or energy to go to the gym, let alone get off the couch? It may be a sneaky culprit that you wouldn’t relate to your mental and emotional fatigue holding you back and making you feel like you are ready to crack.
Stress. We all have it at times and we all learn how to manage it according to how it plays out in our lives. In my coaching practice, I talk about stress A LOT! And, for good reason. Did you know that over 80% of doctors visits are due to stress related causes? And did you know that stress is the number one reason why people gain weight or have a hard time losing weight? Not all stress is bad and, sometimes, it is actually super beneficial and can help you succeed in your goals. I am talking about the chronic stress and distress that breaks us down rather than builds us up. That is what I’m going to talk about here. I am always looking for new tricks or tactics to help manage your stress and help give your health a kick in the pants. Let’s dive in to one of my favorite ways to increase your stress management skills and make you a stress-free badass.
There are 3 main types of stress: eustress, acute stress, and chronic stress. Eustress is the good stuff. That is where the excitement and anticipation of something positive lives. Going on a first date, competing in an event, and the rush of excitement from a roller coaster are all forms of eustress. It is a form of uplifting stress and can be super beneficial when you stepping into something new and progressing in your life. Acute stress is the type of stress that is short lived. This type of stress can be quite beneficial when approached positively. The stress of a huge test or an argument with your spouse are examples of acute stress. They may not be pleasant, but they are a warning sign that your system is being taxed and that a period of renewal and rest is going to be needed to heal the body. This is actually very positive and helps to condition the body and the mind to tuning in and giving itself what it needs. The key is to have the balance between the stress and the rest. Acute stress becomes not so beneficial when it is not addressed. When stuffed away inside of you and not allowed adequate time for healing, the stress can become chronic and bigger than ever- this is when the body and mind begin to negatively react to the stressors.
One of the biggest reasons for chronic stress to take hold of us is because of our own fear, worry, and doubt. When we are stuck in our own heads, it is harder to see the big picture and be rational in our thought processes. When you are fixated on your problem, it grows and can seem completely unmanageable. The key to managing environmental stressors is to get out of your head. Be in the here and now and not in the emotions that are causing you to pull yourself away from a sense of reality. One of the most valuable tools that I have learned and use regularly is the art of being mindful and getting out of the head. There are so many ways that you can apply that, but in this blog, I am going to show you one of my favorite techniques and the one I use most when coaching my clients.
Learning to let it go….
Let’s be real-most of us hold onto our shit- and for way to long! It is so easy to get fixated on what we could have done, should have done, or how someone wronged us in the first place. The reality is that the moment that upset you and knocked you off balance is over and it is unchangeable. What is done is done. Holding onto pent up negative feelings only creates more stress and anxiety within you. It doesn’t do anything to the person or situation that your angst is directed at. Yeah, yeah, yeah, perhaps the situation sucked and it should not have happened in the first place, but it did and it is done and now it is time for you to move on and gain the upper hand. How do you do that?
When under stress, our body physically responds. Each person is different and how the body responds can vary, but it responds none the less. For me, my shoulders clench and I shrug, my breathing becomes shallow, and I clench my jaw. How does your body respond? Most people respond with a shallow breath. This actually increases the stress we feel and brings your energy flow to a screeching halt. The first thing you can is do pay attention to how your body responds under stress. Then, you want to work to loosen up your body, deepen your breath, and allow the energy to begin flowing again through a purposeful breath. Simply breathe. Take 3 deep breaths, breathing from the diaphragm (belly breathing). As you inhale through your nose, allow your belly to expand. Hold for a count of 2 and then slowly allow that breathe to release as you allow your belly to relax. Each time you release your breathe, think to yourself, “I release my stress.”
Be in the moment…
Here is where the magic happens. As I mentioned above, fear and anxiety and worry from focusing on the chatter and stories that you make up in your head increase your stress and decreases your rational thinking. Being hyper-focused on the here and now is critical. That is called “mindfulness.” Sit in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground (this is important). You can stand, but it may not be as relaxing. Close your eyes. Relax your shoulders if they are clenched. Loosen your jaw if it feels tight. For at least one minute (more if you like), focus on the sounds around you. Listen for every minuet sound that comes into your awareness. If you feel your focus going to your thoughts, gently allow yourself to come back to the sounds around you, doing so without judgement or frustration. As you stay hyper-focused on the sounds around you, allow yourself to continue breathing at a comfortable, slow pace. After a minute, or when you feel that you are more calm and focused, slowly open your eyes and allow yourself to sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute before moving to the next step. During this time, allow yourself to now focus on all the details around you and in your visual path, while still continuing the calm breathing.
Revisit your frustration point…
Here is the key- you need to revisit your frustration point and work through it. The steps you have taken so far will NOT cure your frustrations. They are the foundation to set you up for the good stuff to occur. What this exercise does is it creates clarity and calmness within you. It decreases your stress and increases your rational thinking. It creates a place within you to revisit your frustration point with more likeliness of letting it go and moving onward. When you revisit, restructuring your mindset and your inner dialogue will make or break your success. Fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt live in inner dialogues such as “I can’t,” “What if,” and “I am scared that.” By a simple change of wording, your inner dialogue changes completely and you move into a state of wonder rather than fear and stress. For example-
Instead of: “I can’t stop eating late at night!”
Try: “I wonder what would happen if I did not eat late tonight.”
This allows your inner frequency to raise and allows you to be more likely to work through your frustration point, making you stronger and more capable each and every time that you are knocked off your balance. It creates a sense of empowerment! It takes practice and patience and determination to recenter yourself when you catch yourself off balance. Remember, the less stress that is placed on our bodies, the stronger and more confident we will feel in our workouts.
I wonder how you will implement this today? You got this!
Take action now! Start by writing down what you will do and pick one area of your day that you know may trigger stress for you. Have a plan and write it down so that you are fully prepared if the time comes. If you feel frustrated that you “didn’t do it right,” be gentle on yourself and remember that this is a process- a journey- and you WILL get better the more you practice. Now, share my “Shout And Share” with all your friends to help get them set up for success in their new habit!
Go to the comment section. Make a comment and let me know what you have struggled with, what you have tried, and what your action plan is. The best discussions start between like-minded friends! Share this with your friends and get more people in on the action.
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